Has anybody reading this ever visited Lechuguilla Cave?
Lechuguilla Cave is, as of 2006, the sixth longest cave (120 mi, or 193 km) known to exist in the world, and the deepest in the continental United States (489 m, or 1604 ft), but it is most famous for its unusual geology, rare formations, and pristine condition.
Lechuguilla Cave was known until 1986 as a small, fairly insignificant historic site in the park’s backcountry. Small amounts of bat guano were mined from the entrance passages for a year under a mining claim filed in 1914. The historic cave contained a 90-foot (27 m) entrance pit which led to 400 feet (120 m) of dry dead-end passages.
The cave was visited infrequently after mining activities ceased. However, in the 1950s cavers heard wind roaring up from the rubble-choked floor of the cave. Although there was no obvious route, different people concluded that cave passages lay below the rubble. A group of Colorado cavers gained permission from the National Park Service and began digging in 1984. The breakthrough, into large walking passages, occurred on May 26, 1986.
Since 1984, explorers have mapped 118 miles of passages and have pushed the depth of the cave to 1604 feet (489 m), ranking Lechuguilla as the 6th longest cave in the world (4th longest in the United States) and the deepest limestone cave in the country. Cavers, drawn by the caves’ pristine condition and rare beauty, come from around the world to explore and map its geology.